City aims to reverse waste diversion decline

City aims to reverse waste diversion decline

Saskatoon city council voted unanimously to spend $327,833 on a consultant to come up with a plan to kick-start failing efforts to divert more waste from the dump.

The city has set the ambitious target of diverting 70 per cent of waste from the landfill by 2023, but is only expected to divert 21 per cent in 2015, according to the city’s numbers.

That 21 per cent would represent the second straight year waste diversion has declined in Saskatoon, despite the introduction of residential curbside recycling collection programs.

Diversion peaked in 2013 at 23 per cent, then dropped to 22 per cent in 2014. In a national study of waste disposal, Saskatoon ranked second only to Regina in the per capita amount of trash it send to the landfill.

Garbage per capita has declined in the last five years from 284 kilograms a year to 249, according to a city report. However, the amount of recycling material collected is also expected to drop from 161 kg per household per year in 2014 to 154 kg per household this year.

“The decline in the amount of recycling could be the result of changes in consumption behaviour as the garbage disposal rate is also declining,” the report says.

The city last paid for a consultant’s report on garbage in 2014. That study showed 59 per cent of material taken to the landfill is organic waste, 25 per cent is non-recyclable waste and 15 per cent is recyclable material.

The 2016 study would be the fourth study of garbage in Saskatoon in the last 10 years, following the hiring of consultants in 2006, 2012 and 2014. Toronto-based Dillon Consulting Ltd. was awarded the contract over three other companies that submitted bids.

The 2016 study is expected to include an examination of the amount of waste from the city that heads to the two private landfills near Saskatoon. It is also expected to focus on the garbage produced by several types of businesses, such as restaurants.

Dillon is also expected to come up with a plan for diverting more waste.

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